ACTIVISTS and trade unions across the UK have responded to Labour's amendment to the SNP's motion which calls for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza.

The amendment released on Tuesday has been described as amounting to "asking for another pause" and falling "short" to calls for an immediate ceasefire.

Labour's U-turn comes just a day before MPs were due to vote on an SNP motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Palestine, which many Labour MPs were expected to support.

The party's left-wing branch, Momentum, shared a statement by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) on social media, posting: "Palestinian Solidarity Campaigners are clear: this amendment falls short. Join us in demanding every Labour MP votes for the SNP amendment for an immediate ceasefire".

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The full statement from PSC reads: “The Labour Party leadership has tabled an amendment seeking to water down the SNP motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. This amendment seeks to dilute the clear call for an immediate ceasefire by handing the Israeli government a veto over whether or not a ceasefire should happen, at a time when Israel is on trial at the ICJ for the crime of genocide.

“Labour’s amendment amounts to asking for another pause – allowing Israel the option to continue with the slaughter unless its preconditions are met. Pointedly, the Labour amendment removes all reference to the collective punishment of Palestinians – a crime under international law."

The SNP’s motion goes further in its criticism of Israel, accusing the country of carrying out the “collective punishment” of Palestinians.

The statement goes on to say that this removal of reference to collective punishment “is not an accident” and called the “parliamentary word-games” by Labour with the lives of Palestinians as “grotesque”.

Humza Yousaf described the removal of the reference as "frustrating" in a post on Twitter/X.

He wrote: "Frustratingly, the Labour motion deletes our reference to collective punishment. However, despite our differences, I hope we can get consensus across the political divide that enough is enough. Too many innocent men, women and children have suffered. The violence must end."

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The PSC statement added: “This is not an accident. While some shifting of the Labour position is testament to the hundreds of thousands who have campaigned for more than four months for an end to the killing of Palestinians by Israel, this amendment indicates that the Labour leadership is still trying to excuse Israeli war crimes and not willing to put pressure on Israel to end its atrocities.

“It is grotesque to play parliamentary word-games with the lives of Palestinian people. All MPs should vote for the SNP motion clearly calling for an immediate ceasefire and against this and any other amendment that seeks to weaken this urgent demand.”

Momentum added to their initial comments in an additional statement, stating: "Scratch the surface of this amendment and it falls well short of what the moment requires: a clear call for an immediate ceasefire.

"By making its call for a ceasefire so conditional and caveated, the Labour leadership is giving cover for Israel’s brutal war to continue. With nearly 30,000 Palestinians killed, around half of them children, and an ICJ ruling of plausible genocide, Labour should be providing the moral leadership the Tories lack, not muddying the waters.

"Simply put, Keir Starmer should get off the fence and unreservedly call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinian people. Alongside dozens of international NGOs today, we urge Labour MPs to vote for the SNP amendment for an immediate ceasefire."

The Scottish branch of PSC reacted to the amendment, echoing the main organisation as coming "too late".

It added: "As Israel bombs Gazans sleeping in tents, Starmer has provided the political cover for them to do so.  His claim that Israel has the right to switch off electricity and water to over 2 million besieged people, will surely be his enduring political legacy.

" The amendment fails to ‘seek assurances’ for Palestinians that the horrors of the last 5 months will never be inflicted on them again by Israel.  It is clear that this weak amendment of the SNP motion comes because of public pressure, and not because of any internal will in the Labour Party to stop a genocide."

Elsewhere, the University and College Union (UCU) urged followers to join PSC in lobbying MPs to vote for the SNP's motion, writing: "No ifs or buts, we need an immediate ceasefire. Israel's war on the Palestinian people must end now."

READ MORE: Pro-Palestine protesters who scaled Glasgow weapons factory avoid jail

Journalist Owen Jones shared Labour's amendment and suggested it looked like "a deliberate and cynical attempt to replace" the SNP motion" with an unclear call.

"Labour's amendment looks like a deliberate and cynical attempt to replace @theSNP 's clear demand for an "immediate ceasefire" with something far more ambiguous and open to interpretation.

Among several points, Jones said the party must clarify how the call was different to previous calls of a "humanitarian pause"

A similar motion tabled by the SNP in November saw 10 shadow ministers and parliamentary aides rebel to back an immediate ceasefire, with some 56 Labour members defying a three-line whip and backing an amendment to the King’s Speech.

Labour would not get into the consequences for MPs who do not vote for its amendment this week.

Starmer, speaking at the Scottish Labour conference on Sunday, called for a “ceasefire that lasts” in the Middle East, in an echo of previous calls by UK ministers for a “sustainable ceasefire”.

Scottish Labour delegates backed calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza at the gathering.